Identity is created by the factors all around us, and also how we respond to them. In the article by Beverly Tatum titled The Complexity of Identity: “Who Am I? ” she discusses how we as a society can get past our differences through understanding who we are. She gives multiple examples of how we relate to our environment and how a better understand of that can bring us closer together and even open new channels of communication through discussion. Tatum gives us a very well laid out way to ask the right questions, to get an outside perspective that ultimately helps us understand who we are and how we can relate with others.
Tatum talks about a situation where she asked her students to complete the sentence, “I am _____________. ” Using as many descriptors as they can in sixty seconds. Her goal was to see what people considered themselves as. The results she obtained were very interesting. She notes that the subordinate races, religions, genders, and sexualities all listed some type of identity if it was considered different from this mythical norm exert she sites on page one from “Age. Race. Class. and Sex: Women Redefining Difference. Audre Lorde (EX: …In America, this norm is usually defined as white, thin, male, young, heterosexual, Christian, and financially secure. )
She then talks about the relationship of dominant, subordinate and how the dominant role of society assigns the roles to the subordinate in the culture. Stating on page 3 “The relationship of the dominants to the subordinates is often one in which the targeted group is labeled as defective or substandard in significant ways. ” What she’s saying is that the subordinate group internalizes what the dominant group pushes because they are not the larger majority.
This issue leads to individuals not trying to rise to their potential because society tells them they have none. At the end of the piece she declares that once we resist our own oppression and that of others, we could embrace our identities and live freely. Essentially if we as a people understand that we are indeed different from one another and can accept this, we will rise to a new level of understanding and blot out ignorance. Its been said that any fool can make something complicated, it takes a genius to make it simple – Woody Guthrie, Albert Einstein.
I understand where the author is coming from, looking at how she wrote, however the wordiness and large words kind of make it seem like she’s using them to explain her point to someone of equal stature which wouldn’t need all the extra words. So how I see it is she is trying to reach a large audience of an adult age group but only the educated ones. This is counter productive. Since we as educated adults can read it why would we need to reach this understanding if we already strive to achieve our goals?
Shouldn’t this be written in plain English to help the less privileged and educated understand that they can overcome whatever struggles they face? Basing anything about whom a person is within the fence of sixty seconds seems as though she’s only looking for superficial results when each person deals with very different issues in a multitude of ways. In the life I have I have lived so far I have faced oppression and discrimination. Blaming society for your current situation is not going to change it, only thought hard work and perseverance will you get places in life.
I made my own way, I pushed through and in all honesty if you cant do that they you wont get far in life. How the author portrays the issues is accurate, who you are is dependent on your environment. However, your environment should be slowly changed so you know what they real world will be like by the time you’re around sixteen years old. In short it’s the parents job to make sure their kids are getting what they need to be confident in themselves and teach them about how the world works. For example, my dad went over how he does his taxes when I was almost out of high school.
This showed me that even though some parts of life may not be fun they are necessary. If we are so effected by our environments that without outside intervention we succumb to what the dominant parts of society say, why are we not trying to change our thought process as a society to be more positive over all? We have some so far with all aspects of being different from one another that I honestly don’t see this as the main problem any more. Its up to parents and teachers to properly educate the next generation so they will be considered above this so called subordinate role and everyone will have an equal part in society.
Our problem in this day and age is that no one wants to accept responsibility for his or her actions. If we don’t have a drastic change soon there will only be dominate and subordinate. We need a positive neutral group that should be the vast majority of people. I don’t mean that people shouldn’t identify with what they are passionate about but they should understand there is more to life than just their world, once the majority grasps that we will live in a world of serenity.